Review: Songbird Craft Coffee Liqueur

Hey, it’s something from Indiana that’s not whiskey from MGP! Bloomington, IN is the home to Cardinal Spirits, and Songbird Craft Coffee Liqueur is one of the company’s most noteworthy products.

What’s in the bottle? Let me allow Cardinal to explain:

Most coffee liqueurs taste one dimensional – like sugar. But ours tastes like coffee, plus all of the complementary notes you get from freshly-roasted coffee, like caramel and chocolate. That’s because we make this spirit with a ton of freshly roasted coffee from our friends/neighbors at Hopscotch Coffee in Bloomington (for our Kentucky version of this spirit, we use coffee from Good Folks roastery in Louisville). Only coffee, Bourbon vanilla beans, cane sugar and our vodka are used to make our Songbird Coffee Liqueur – no flavor extracts or coloring, ever. Here’s a video of how we make our coffee liqueur.

If you like coffee — or coffee-flavored spirits — Songbird is one to seek out. The nose is pure coffee — a real fresh-ground character that feels like a freshly-opened bag of ground beans. Lightly nutty, with overtones of vanilla and sugar, it’s not an overblown espresso but something closer to a fresh, moderate roast. The palate is sweeter than expected — one feels Songbird might have dialed the sugar back a bit; get a drop on your hands and they’ll be so sticky you need to wash them immediately — but in the end the coffee becomes the centerpiece of the experience. With that much sugar, the impact can be a bit like a Vietnamese coffee (sans the milk), but finally the body manages to overpower the sweetness quickly enough with powerful notes of nutty, lightly smoky coffee beans and some burnt caramel character.

Great stuff, and highly versatile on its own or as a cocktail ingredient.

Note: The label doesn’t note this, but Songbird can settle out quite heavily, so shake well before pouring.

49 proof.

A / $25 / cardinalspirits.com

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